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Censorship Your Rights Online

A Second Lessig Fair-Use Video Is Suppressed By WMG 187

Bios_Hakr points out an ironic use of the DMCA: for the second time, a video tutorial on fair use that Larry Lessig uploaded to YouTube has been muzzled. This time the sound has been pulled from the video; last time the video was taken off of YouTube. (Video and sound for the new "webside chat" can be experienced together on BlipTV.) Both times, Warner Music Group was the party holding copyright on a song that Lessig used in an unarguably fair-use manner. TechDirt is careful not to assume that an actual DMCA takedown notice was issued, on the likelihood that Google's automatic copyright-violation detectors did the deed. "The unintended consequences of asking tool providers [e.g., Google] to judge what is and what is not copyright infringement lead to tremendous problems with companies shooting first and asking questions later. They are silencing speech, on the threat that it might infringe on copyright. This is backwards. We live in a country that is supposed to cherish free speech, not stifle it in case it harms the business model of a company. We live in a country that is supposed to encourage the free expression of ideas — not lock it up and take it down because one company doesn't know how to adapt its business model. We should never be silencing videos because they might infringe on copyright."
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A Second Lessig Fair-Use Video Is Suppressed By WMG

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:57PM (#31337364)

    It's like when the police question you while you're walking around taking pictures. Sure, you may be within your rights, and there may be no laws saying you can't walk around with a camera, but you know what? You're just trying to be difficult. And Lessig's just trying to be difficult. All that the police want is to sniff out the terrorists, and the terrorists are bad, right!? And so are music pirates. And you can't fault Warner for just wanting to protect their few dollars. Just remember, those who make waves are always up to no good.


  • you mean this one? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:00PM (#31337396) [] "webside chat"?

    works with sound here (germany).... dunno what you mean, though its possible that the dmca counternotice was already done and accepted?

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:04PM (#31337458)
    That doesn't mean that they can tell you its illegal and remove it.

    Its like this, I own a billboard company, I can choose which advertisers can and can't advertise on there. However, it becomes a bit tricky if I say "I can't print this, this is illegal" when its not. Of course Google can do whatever they want to, the problem is, they are saying something is illegal when its not.
  • by Barny ( 103770 ) <> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:08PM (#31337520) Journal

    No, their automated system is saying "this might be illegal", the user does have the right to challenge it, I have and won before (in one, google claimed a nine inch nails song was copyright, and yes the version released by the record company was, I used the version from, which is creative commons licensed).

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:35PM (#31337850)

    That doesn't mean that they can tell you its illegal and remove it.

    Not so sure about that. It's a free service, they can certainly remove the video. It's their servers. I am not playing Devil's advocate here or anything, but a lot of these protestations about Free Speech are concerning activities that are happening on private property . I have a problem with telling YouTube that it must host content, any content, regardless if I agree with it or not.

    What I do have a problem with is when the DMCA is abused. If WMG used the DMCA to attempt to force YouTube into taking down the video, that is a different matter entirely and one that falls into oppression and suppression of Free Speech. It's not just YouTube either that is harassed in this fashion. Plenty of web site owners, hosting providers, ISPs, get this bullshit all the time in an effort to suppress Free Speech, transparency in government, unpopular speech, etc.

    We don't know if this was YouTube's decision (within their rights) or simply a reaction to DMCA take down requests by WMG (They decided to cave in to the demands more easily than we would like).

    I fail to see how YouTube is not within it's rights to do any of this.

    they are saying something is illegal when its not

    AFAIK, they are not doing that at all. That's what confuses me so much about this. I get notices all the time:


    Your video, XXXXX, may have content that is owned or licensed by XXXXXXX Group.

    No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.

    - The YouTube Team

    They never actually stated it was illegal. Only that there was a possibility it was. I was not told I had to do anything either.

    I have received hundreds of these notices as well, and to date, I have not had any videos removed at all. This probably is *not* the automated fingerprinting at YouTube doing this. I would bet it is a reaction to a take down notice.

    Even if they did state it was illegal, when it was not, how is that 'illegal'? I assume that is what you mean when you say, 'they can't'? Or did you mean to say, 'they shouldn't'?

    People and businesses have a right to be stupid and say stupid things. Not libelous or slanderous things, but they have a right to say wrong and stupid things. We can also take our business elsewhere too.

    In the end, I would not give so much grief to YouTube about this. They are just trying to survive in a corrupt in inequitable environment. What I would do is write a letter to WMG telling them that you have decided to not give them any business at all, and stick to your guns .

  • Re:Free Speech (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @08:20PM (#31338468)
    Free speech is a right that can't be abridged by anyone. YouTube deleting videos from their own server, however, does not violate free speech. Nor does being asked to leave a store when you're distributing pamphlets, or me kicking you out of my house if you bust in raving about TimeCube. The only way your freedom of speech can be abridged is by preventing you from speaking at all.

    The only entity that has the power to do this is the government (through jail, or injunction), so while free speech technically applies to all, the only ones that actually have the capacity to abuse it are the government, so, in practice they're the only ones it applies to.
  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @08:23PM (#31338496)

    1. Mandate deep packet inspection, block all video not coming from approved servers.
    2. Any data that's encrypted is automatically dropped by ISP routers.

    1. - Most of the time that stuff is prohibitively expensive at a large scale, not all that effective, and easily bypassed with TOR, FreeNet, Darknet, and just plain regular encryption and password protected compressed files.

    2. - I think you meant any data that's encrypted *without* the appropriate key escrow IDs that allow the encryption to be verified as authorized. Commerce would disappear overnight if you truly eliminated encryption and I doubt that is what you meant.

    The day encryption is outlawed, is the day that the Revolution will begin. It's the canary in the coal mine for me and at that point I will diligently attempt to start the Revolution myself involving whatever means may be necessary to bring down the current government and restore the ideals and principles that used to be the foundation of this country.

    On this point, I do not jest in any way, shape, or form. On that day, the Revolution will begin and the blood will flow... and it must do so. Otherwise, we all sat by while the People lost their country which used to stand for Freedom.

    Of course we are not there yet are we????? No, I sincerely doubt the U.S government will ever outlaw encryption or enact a key escrow system in my lifetime. Way, way, WAY too many people like me with guns out there and they know it.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @08:26PM (#31338558) Homepage Journal
    I've had two auto-matches (Cryptomnesia: Animal Crossing [] and Cryptomnesia: Vertigo []) and one OCILLA takedown (THIS FAN GAME VIDEO WILL BE FLAGGED []) against me on YouTube. Disputing the auto-matches was as easy as checking the "this use does not require the copyright owner's permission" and writing a 140-character fair use rationale in the reason box. If you've ever written a rationale for Wikipedia, it should be a doddle. The OCILLA takedown was more difficult to dispute; I had to install PGP support into my e-mail client, reveal my mailing address, and affirm my fair use rationale under penalty of perjury.
  • First Amendment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @08:48PM (#31338820) Homepage Journal

    Mandate deep packet inspection, block all video not coming from approved servers.

    Then only the operators of "approved servers" have the privilege to speak. I don't know about Canada, but here in the United States, I don't see the federal government getting away with abridging freedom of speech or of the press in this way.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @10:11PM (#31339486) Homepage
    Your opinion on legality is wrong. this is still a free speech issue. It's called "chilling effect", also called the "libel chill" The courts have ruled that laws that have a chilling effect do impinge on free speech, and as such laws that allow people to sue someone count as a chilling effect. Similarly, Lessig could sue the US government, claiming that their laws, guidelines and practices are a chilling effect that affect free speech.
  • by somanyrobots ( 1334451 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:32PM (#31340044)

    It's ContentID. They do have humans who go through and review (they absolutely refuse to say how many), but ContentID does 90% of it these days. I spoke with one of the developers working on the system last fall, and they essentially consider it to be the Holy Grail of not having to waste time on DMCA notices. What's most likely is that in your case, the owner of the content hasn't asked YouTube to do anything about it, so they're merely flagging it, informing you, and not taking anything down. Compare to the big labels, which have YouTube take down flagged videos or, in some cases, give the labels a cut of the advertising revenue alongside them.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.